High Performance Tires Vs. Long Lasting Tires | Hunt or Shred

So, the tires on your ATV have worn out, and it's time to replace them. But now, do you go for high-performance or long-lasting tires?

Generally, riders prefer long-lasting tires, also known as all-season tires, for their lower cost and all-around performance in the city and on trails. However, high-performance tires allow you to drive faster and handle well – at a higher cost. 

The tire you choose only depends on one thing: what do you ride your ATV for? Is it the thrill? Is it work? Or is it both? Both tire kinds have their advantages and disadvantages. High-performance tires, a.k.a. summer tires are the way to improve your ride's performance, but they will also cost you if you drive them in the wrong conditions. Similarly, long-lasting tires are the way to go for multiple terrains, but they aren't particularly good at any one thing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed both tires kinds over the past decade. Therefore, I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you all about the two tire kinds and help you make an informed decision. Read on to learn about what each tire offers, their fundamental differences, and how you can decide which tire to choose. I will also mention some of the best options of each type, so all you have to do is choose the right one for your needs.

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High-Performance Tires - Exciting but Costly?

High-performance tires are specifically designed to provide riders with better performance for sporting activities. A common misunderstanding is that these tires are only for the people who want higher speed from their vehicles. In reality, these tires improve the ability of an ATV to go at a higher speed by improving handling and traction.

Better performance is possible because of the specialized construction of these tires. They have large rubber footprints and a more comprehensive tread design with deeper and broader lugs. This combination allows the tire to make increased contact with the ground, meaning more power is transmitted from the engine to the tires. This allows the vehicle to achieve higher speeds at lower acceleration.

High-performance tires are low-profile tires. Low profile refers to the minimized sidewalls, which are stiffer and add to side traction and better control on sharp turns than the long-lasting tires. Apart from the "increasing" qualities of these tires, they significantly decrease the vehicle's braking distance. The complex rubber compound aids the braking and allows safe driving, especially during racing and other sports.

One thing to remember about high-performance tires is that the less flexible rubber with shorter side walls is bad news on snow and ice. These tires do not gain traction in snowy conditions, which can lead to accidents. Then there are the costs of opting for these tires. While you will have a riding experience like never before, remember that these tires are pricier, noisier, and affect fuel economy. The stiffer rubber compound also wears out quicker than the long-lasting tires.

Long-Lasting Tires - Jack of All Trades, Master of None?

Most ATVs and other vehicles come with stock-equipped long-lasting tires unless the vehicle is terrain-specific. For instance, the Polaris Sportsman 1000XP High lifter ATV is a mud-specific ATV, and it comes with mud-specific High Lifter Outlaw II tires. However, these tires are more common because they provide an all-rounder performance on multiple terrains.

As most riders look for durability in a tire, so their investment stays safe for a longer period, these tires boast all the qualities to make them long-lasting. Also known as all-season tires, they have a rubber compound, making these tires good for extended wear. They also support the purpose of an average rider. These include running errands, a casual stroll, a cross country trip, and off-roading. In general, these tires are for you if you ride a lot.

The long-lasting tires have a wide tread pattern with relatively smaller treads and average lug height. This allows them to provide stability in country-wide terrains, except in extreme conditions like deep mud and snow. These tires' best quality is the quiet and comfortable ride that most consumers want.

Moreover, long-lasting tires perform well in wet conditions, including snow and ice. They have a flexible rubber compound with sufficient height to support snow riding. However, if you live in an area with extreme winter conditions, you should look for snow-specific tires. On the downside, you will miss out on high-performance on either terrain, including compromised speed, handling, and braking.

High-Performance Tires vs. Long-Lasting Tires – Key Differences

Now that we know what each kind of tire offers, we will compare their characteristics to determine how they differ.

Characteristic High-Performance Tires Long-Lasting Tires
Thrill Factor Excellent acceleration, Superb handling during sharp turning, Lower braking distance. Moderate handling, good overall traction on diverse terrains, not performance specific.
Hydroplaning Resistance Larger treads and stiffer rubber compound protects riders from hydroplaning. Good handling in moderately wet conditions, but not for sloppy terrains.
Temperature Limitations Best use for temperature under 45 degrees. Perform well in near-freezing temperatures.
Winter Performance Not suitable for winter as the already stiff build has no room to expand, resulting in wearing out in the snow. Suitable for moderate snowy conditions where snow piles no more than two inches. Unable to handle extended winters.
Tread Durability Can see up to 50,000 miles depending on the use and the way of driving. It can wear out earlier if only used for sporting activities consisting of high abuse. Depending on the quality and make of the tire, they can last up to 80,000 miles. If exposed to extreme heat, it will wear out quicker.
Convenience Can handle high temperatures to mild winters. A second tire set is recommended to see out extreme winter conditions. It can handle temperatures below zero, but if extreme conditions persist for longer periods, it will reduce the life of the tires.

High-Performance Tires vs. Long-Lasting Tires — How to Decide?

So, which tire should you buy next? Below, I have mentioned some critical factors to consider when deciding between high-performance and long-lasting tires. However, you are the boss here. In the end, you should keep these factors in line after considering the usual riding conditions and your expectations from the tires.

Are You Looking for Sporty or All-Around Performance?

The major difference between the two tires is sports-like performance vs. an all-around performance. If you want better speed and better handling at quick corners, you should look into the best high-performance tires. In comparison, if you expect a subtle, quiet performance while you ride across the country, long-lasting tires are your answer.

How Important Is Fuel Efficiency for You?

High-performance tires enhance your enjoyment behind the wheel, but it reduces your fuel average due to increased traction. So, if you're ready to take up the recurring extra cost when you fuel up, you can choose high-performing tires. On the other hand, long-lasting tires are the way to go if you want better fuel economy from your ATV.

Do You Want Tires with a Longer Lifespan?

Usually, riders want their tires to perform well while giving them the best value in terms of durability. Sadly, you have to choose between the two. Long-lasting tires have a rubber compound that can last up to four years, but you will be missing out on the performance. But if you choose performance over tread life, you will have to reinvest in new tires sooner. Try these tips to increase your tires' lifespan.

Does Terrain Versatility Interest You?

You will want your ATV to conquer multiple terrains if you are anything like me. Long-lasting tires are the best choice as their build allows them to maneuver safely on various terrains. The high-performance tires won't take you through several conditions, but they offer exclusive performance on roads and sporting activities. You should choose high-performance tires, and winning is your mission. In comparison, if your passion lies in adventures and you want to see it all, you should get your hands on the long-lasting tires.

Do You Want Fine Handling and Responsiveness?

High-performance tires are the clear choice if you want good handling and responsive braking from your tires. These attributes are essential if your riding consists of high speeding. But you can settle with long-lasting tires if moderate handling and braking will do the job for you.

Top Tire Picks

Having established an understanding and differences between the High-performance and Long-lasting tires, let's take a look at a couple of the best tires in each category.

Best High-Performance Tires

These are the best high-performance tires.

Maxxis Razr XC Tires

An outstanding tire recommended by motocross champions, The Maxis Razr XC tires are for the winners. Firstly, Maxxis is arguably the top tire manufacturer for high-performing tires. You don't have to worry about these tires not fulfilling your expectations with their decades-old reputation.

The Maxxis Razr XC tires are made with a six-ply rating, meaning six layers of compressed rubber are used to make this tire, enhancing its durability. Unlike other high-performing tires, these tires have extended-wear built while they can withstand massive abuse. These tires have a never-seen-before tread pattern which is the USP that distinguishes them from their rivals. It consists of knobby treads with pre-grooved lugs spread from one side to the other. This design ensures the tire doesn't get punctured easily and protects the sidewalls from scratches and scuffs.

Moreover, the treads on the sidewalls also ensure the tires provide a firm hold on sharp turns. These tires can spin non-stop and conquer hard-packed terrains on your cross-country trail and help you achieve the top spot with top-tier performance on the mud trail. The tire tread is increased from 15/33 to 18/33 inches to enhance grip, especially on loose sandy terrains.

For as long as I can remember, the Maxxis Razr XC tire has been in-demand for the most challenging GNCC and WORCS trails. However, to get the optimum performance you expect from this tire, you must pay a hefty price. The front tire costs $124.20 per piece, while the rear tire costs $141.30. You can get this tire from Maxxis dealerships.

ITP Holeshot MXR6 Tires

While not adding the best look to your ATV, the ITP Holeshot MXR6 Tires are the best for pavements and loose terrains. This tire has a non-directional tread pattern with widespread treads with a self-cleaning attribute. The wide tread pattern with evenly distanced treads allows more ground contact, enhancing your ATV's capability to reach higher speeds.

The ITP Holeshot tire has a two-ply rating, significantly less than the tire mentioned above. However, it enhances the tire's flexibility and offers a PSI 7-rating. This enhances the ability to expand in lower temperatures instead of wearing out quickly. So if you want a tire set that provides you maximum performance and withstands freezing temperatures, this tire will do the job for you.

On the other hand, traction is a piece of cake for this tire. This ire uses a rear carcass to reduce the stretching, so the tire stays in the best shape. However, the flat tire profile ensures you cover maximum ground with the most stable and comfortable ride. This is an added advantage for mud trails. Whether you're competing or solo adventuring, you will have the most relaxing time on those bumpy trails.

The ITP Holeshot MXR6 tire combines performance and technology to give you the best riding experience. However, ensure you don't get stuck in a watery situation with these tires, as they are an easy target for hydroplaning. Moreover, great power comes with a greater price. ITP Holeshot's front tire costs $129.92, and the rear tire costs $117.89. You can get this tire from ITP's dealerships.

Best Long-Lasting Tires

The best long-lasting tires include:

Maxxis BigHorn 2.0 Tire

With Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tire, the famous tire manufacturing company. Honestly, you will find this tire in any list of the best long-lasting tires. These Bighorn 2.0 tires are an upgrade to Maxxis's original Bighorn tires. It uses the same technology to provide an all-season performance and a long lifespan for the best value.

If traction is your top priority, then this tire has a load of it for you. It has a non-directional tread pattern with angled knobs with significant tread depth. Although the non-directional tread pattern doesn't do any favors for the muddy and loose terrains, the angled knobs take care of that by performing a clawing action to help your ATV propel forward. The traction is also aided with a 0.72 tread depth, enabling more rubber to bite the ground.

Moreover, if you're into off-road racing, you couldn't get more versatile and lightweight tires to accompany you in the trails. This is where these tires become magical. Although mentioned in the long-lasting tire category, these tires lean towards a performance-based class. The Bighorn 2.0 tire has a six-ply rating that ensures longevity despite moderate abuse. On the other hand, these tires are lightweight and have a radial tread design that enhances the speed rating while providing sufficient handling when cornering.

The Mais Bighorn 2.0 tires also allow hauling up to 410 pounds on the trunk of your ride so you can carry more than just the essentials on your cross-country trip. The front tire costs $180.00 per piece and $189.50 for the rear. You can buy this tire from Maxxis' dealerships.

ITP Mud Lite AT Tires

If you have searched for the best long-lasting tires at all, you must have come across the ITP Mud Lite AT tires. These tires are making rounds all over the place with their versatile design and wide range of features that make them one of the top-selling tires in the past couple of years.

The ITP Mud Lite AT tire has an all-around performance that keeps you more than satisfied. Though the name suggests they are mud-specific tires, they won't disappoint you on sand, woody, rocky, and snowy terrains. However, their performance in the mud is one to talk about. With the help of a directional V-shape tread pattern and 0.75 inches tread depth, these tires will help you claw your way out of mud pits and keep you first in the trail racing.

Investing in these tires is the best thing you can do for a long-term solution or your diverse terrain adventures. It has a six-ply rating to ensure the tires don't wear out quickly whether they stumble upon sharp woods, rugged stones, or sloppy mud. Moreover, the shoulder lugs protect the sidewalls from damage, which also provides grip on uneven surfaces. Unlike other larger tread tires, this tire ensures a smooth ride and makes your adventures comfortable and fatigue-free.

The best part is, you don't have to put a huge dent in your pocket to enjoy the amazing qualities of this tire. You can get the ITP Mud Lite AT tire only for $117.98 on Amazon.

Final Words

I hope this guide helps you understand the differences between high-performance and long-lasting tires. By comprehensively understanding what each tire offers and the key considerations, you can decide which tire type is the best for you.




I'm 30 years old. I am a software developer and I am a freelance writer on the side. I've been riding ATV's since I was 15. I personally own a Polaris Sportsman and a Can-Am Defender.

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